The Writings of C. S. Lewis

Fiction & Poetry

Some of the summaries listed below may contain spoilers.

The Dark Tower and Other Stories
Ed. Walter Hooper. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977.
Contains four stories — The Man Born Blind, The Shoddy Lands, Ministering Angels, Forms of Things Unknown, and two fragments of unfinished novels.
Dymer [originally under the pseudonym of Clive Hamilton]
London: Dent, 1926.
A Narrative poem, republished in 1950 under Lewis' name with a new Preface in which he summarized the subject of the poem as "the story of a man who, on some mysterious bride begets a monster: which monster, as soon as it has killed its father, becomes a god."
Included in Narrative Poems, Ed. Walter Hooper (see below).
The Great Divorce
London: Geoffrey Bles, 1946; rpt. New York: Macmillan, 1977.
A dream (owing some ideas to Dante) in which the author visits Heaven and Hell. The question is not what they are like physically, but rather what it means to be in Hell or in Heaven.
The Horse and His Boy
London: Geoffry Bles, 1954; rpt. New York: Collier Books, 1970.
Shasta, aided by the Tarkheena Aravis and two Talking Horses (Hwin and Bree), helps save Archenland from invasion.
The Last Battle
London: The Bodley Head, 1956; rpt. New York: Collier Books, 1970
The final story: in the last days, a clever ape has constructed a false Aslan. Even after Jill Pole and Eustace Scrubb help Tirian to expose the deception, confusion reigns. The children die in a railway accident in England at the same time that Narnia ends. The children go on to find a new Narnia where "the inside is larger than the outside."
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
London: Geoffrey Bles, 1950; rpt. New York: Collier Books, 1970.
Four English children (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy) accidently discover a magic land that lies beyond and through an ordinary wardrobe. In this land, called Narnia, one of them, Edmund, betrays his siblings to the wicked White Witch, who has been holding all Narnia in thrall to winter. Only when the lion Aslan agrees to die at the witch's hand can the betrayal be forgiven and Spring come to Narnia.
The Magician's Nephew
London: The Bodley Head, 1955; rpt. New York: Collier Books, 1970.
Beginning in Victorian London, two children named Polly and Digory — whose Uncle Andrew is a magician — meet a Queen during their travels who wants magic for power. They are present at the creation of Narnia, when Aslan gives the gift of speech to the animals.
Narrative Poems
Ed. Walter Hooper. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972.
Contains four poems: Dymer (with Lewis' 1950 Preface), Launcelot, The Nameless Isle, and The Queen of Drum.
Out of the Silent Planet
London: John Lane, 1938; rpt. New York: Macmillan Paperbacks Editions, 1965
First novel of the Space Trilogy. The main character, Ransom, is kidnapped and taken to Malacandra (Mars) as a kind of human sacrifice. Ransom escapes his captors and discovers the inhabitants are friendly. This voyage of philosophical adventure culminates in a trial scene between Ransom and his former captors.
London: John Lane, 1943; rpt. New York: Macmillian Paperbacks Edition, 1965.
Second novel of the Space Trilogy. Ransom travels to Perelandra (Venus) where he must fight with the Devil (who has taken possession of Weston, the scientist from the first novel) for the soul of the Green Woman (the Eve of Venus). Ransom succeeds and thus prevents a repetition on Venus of the Earth's fate — the fall and loss of Eden.
The Pilgrim's Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason and Romanticism
London: Dent, 1933; rpt. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1958
An allegorical account of a search for Joy and Truth; the main character, John, finds these where he least expected them — in a leap of (religious) faith.
Ed. Walter Hooper. London: Geoffry Cles, 1964; rpt. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977.
A selection of the poems Lewis wrote during his life. Does not include poems from the first volume, Spirits in Bondage.
Prince Caspian
London: Geoffry Bles, 1951; rpt. New York: Collier Books, 1970.
The four children return to a Narnia much later in time than their last visit. They meet the mouse Reepicheep and all assist Prince Caspian in defeating the Telmarines and bringing back the Old Things.
The Screwtape Letters
London: Geoffrey Bles, 1942; rpt., with Screwtape Proposes a Toast and a new Preface. New York: Macmillan, 1962.
A moral fable about temptation, faith and Christianity, cast in the form of letters from the demon Screwtape to a lesser devil. Black is white, good is evil, and Hell is a bureaucracy. The related Screwtape Proposes a Toast is a satire on the American and British educational system, originally written for the Saturday Evening Post.
The Silver Chair
London: Geoffry Bles, 1953; rpt. New York: Collier Books, 1970.
Eustace Scrubb, with a friend named Jill Pole, is sent by Aslan to find the imprisoned Rilian — the true heir to the Narnian throne. Guided by Puddleglum, the children help Rilian to escape from Underland.
Spirits in Bondage: A Cycle of Lyrics [originally under the pseudonym of Clive Hamilton]
London: William Heinemann, 1919.
Lewis' first book publication.
That Hideous Strength: A Modern Fairy-Tale for Grown-Ups
London: John Lane, 1945; rpt. New York: Macmillan Paperbacks Edition, 1965.
The third novel of the Space Trilogy. Back on Earth, Ransom heads a loosely formed society, Logres, which opposes NICE, Lewis' satiric portrait of a modern power-mad bureaucracy. The NICE hopes to recall Merlin and use him in their plot to recondition society but succeeds only in constructing a modern Tower of Babel.
Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold
London: Geoffry Bles, 1956; rpt. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1966.
The story of Cupid and Psyche (how Psyche, a beautiful mortal princess, is loved by Cupid [Eros], the god of love himself and then loses him through a lack of trust) told in the first-person by Orual, one of Psyche's two sisters. Orual learns that we cannot look the gods in the face until we have acquired faces — selves or souls.
The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader"
London: Geoffry Bles, 1952; rpt. New York: Collier Books, 1970.
Edmund and Lucy join their cousin Eustace Clarence Scrubb ("he almost deserved it"), who becomes an unwilling voyager on a ship with King Caspian. Caspian (and Reepicheep) propose to sail to the World's End. They do. Aslan tells Edmund and Lucy that they are now too old for Narnia and must learn to see him — Aslan — in their own world.


A Year With C. S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works
Harper SanFrancisco; (October 21, 2003)
Beloved author C .S. Lewis is our wise and inspiring guide in this elegant collectible book of 366 poignant and thought-provoking daily meditations.
The Abolition of Man
London: Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1943; rpt. New York: Macmillan Paperbacks Editions, 1965.
Not explicitly Christian. Three lectures defending the concept of Natural Law (a moral standard known in principle to all human societies).
The Allegory of Love: A Study in Medieval Tradition
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1936; rpt. New York: Oxford Paperback, 1958.
This work first made Lewis's reputation in his profession as a literature professor. It deals with the development of allegorical love poetry in Western Europe from Ovid to Spenser. Parts of it are of interest only to the specialist, but I do not think this is true of the book as a whole. Reading it significantly changed my views on the workings of the subconscious.
All My Road Before Me: the Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991. Walter Hooper, ed.
Beyond Personality: the Christian Idea of God
London: Geoffrey Bless, 1944.
Boxen: The Imaginary World of C. S. Lewis
San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985.
Contains some of Lewis' earliest works.
Christian Reflections
William B. Eerdmans, 1967
A collection of papers
The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1964.
This work is an account of the view of the cosmos that was standard in medieval times, with a discussion of its effect on literature and on the imagination.
English Literature in the Sixteenth Century (Excluding Drama)
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954.
A standard reference work. Much of the material is of interest chiefly to the specialist, but someone already familiar with the doctrines on which Christians are in general agreed and wanting to understand the differences that gave rise to the Protestant Reformation will find much helpful material.
An Experiment in Criticism
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1961.
Deals with Art, particularly literature. Many critics have distinguished good books from bad books, and then defined Bad Taste as a taste for Bad Books. Lewis asks what will happen if we reverse the process by distinguishing two kinds of pleasures to be gotten from books (or music, or painting) and then distinguishing books on the basis of the kind of pleasure that they offer, or the way in which they invite the reader to approach them.
Fern Seed and Elephants
Collins (Fount), 1975
A collection of papers.
The Four Loves
London: Geoffrey Bles, 1958.
An analysis of different kinds of love, and different uses of the word "love," taking as its starting point four Greek words for kinds of love.
A Grief Observed [originally under the pseudonym N. W. Clerk]
An account of the suffering caused by the death of his wife, Joy, in 1960.
George MacDonald: An Anthology
London: Geoffrey Bles, 1946.
God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics
Ed. Walter Hooper. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970.
A collection published after Lewis's death of various essays, brief memos, letters to the editor, etc. that he had written.
Servant Books. Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1988
Latin letters (with English translations) exchanged between Lewis and two Italian priests in Verona, Italy between 1947 and 1961.
Letters of C. S. Lewis
Ed. W. H. Lewis. London: Geoffrey Bles, 1994 (second edition).
The Letters of C. S. Lewis to Arthur Greeves (1914-1963)
Ed. Walter Hooper. Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1979
Originally published as They Stand Together
Delightful and instructive correspondance between Lewis and one of his closest friends.
Letters to an American Lady
William B Eerdmans, 1967.
Letter to Children
Collier Books, MacMillian, 1988.
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
London: Geoffrey Bles, 1964.
Mere Christianity
New York: MacMillian, 1943.
This originated as a series of fifteen-minute radio talks addressed to a very general audience, undertaking to give a general account of Christian belief. It begins with a discussion of some reasons for believing that God exists, and why it matters that He does, and then continues with an account of the redeeming work of God in Christ. It includes a discussion of Christian moral standards, and Trinitarian theology. Throughout, the author undertakes to confine himself to the common Christian core of belief, and to steer clear of disagreements between denominations — hence the word MERE in the title.
Miracles: A Preliminary Study
London: Geoffrey Bles, 1947.
The author defines a miracle as "an interference with Nature by a supernatural power," and proceeds to examine the question of whether we have grounds for believing that there exists something that can properly be called supernatural (this involves definitions of Nature other than just "everything that exists"), whether there are grounds for supposing that that something could not or would not interfere with the workings of Nature, and what sort of view of reality is involved in the Christian assertion of the Miracle of the Incarnation (God took human nature upon Himself in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth). A cogent discussion and analysis of fundamental questions.
Of Other Worlds: Essays and Stories
Ed. Walter Hooper. London: Geoffrey Bles, 1966.
Includes It All Began As A Picture (1960), On Criticism, On Science Fiction (1955), On Stories (1947), On Three Ways of Writing for Children (1952), A Reply to Professor Haldane, Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's To Be Said (1956), and Unreal Estates (1964).
On Stories: and Other Essays on Literature
Ed. Walter Hooper. London, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1966.
Twenty Lewis pieces about the excellence of Story. Includes: On Stories, The Novels of Charles Williams, A Tribute to E.R. Eddison, On Three Ways of Writing for Children, Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's to Be Said, On Juvenile Tastes, The Hobbit, and A Panegyric for Dorothy L. Sayers, among others.
The Personal Heresy: A Controversy (co-authored by E.M.W. Tillyard)
London: Oxford University Press, 1939.
Six essays (three by each author) debating whether poetry is, or should be, the expression of the poet's personality.
A Preface to "Paradise Lost"
London: Oxford University Press, 1960.
A series of lectures on epic poetry and in particular on Milton's Paradise Lost. Lewis delivered these in his professional capacity as a specialist in Mediaeval and Renaissance English Literature, but they will be of interest to Christians as well as to English students, for Lewis maintains that one cannot understand or appreciate the poem without understanding (not necessarily accepting) the beliefs that the poem presupposes.
Present Concerns
Ed. Walter Hooper. London, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986.
Nineteen short, lively, Lewis essays about a variety of things. Sample titles: On Living in an Atomic Age, Is History Bunk?, Sex in Literature, The Necessity of Chivalry, Blimpophobia, and Prudery and Philology.
The Problem of Pain
London: Geoffrey Bles, 1940.
Undertakes to answer the question, "If God is good and God is omnipotent, then why is there pain and evil in the world?" or, as otherwise put, "If God loves me, why can't I get my locker open?"
Reflections on the Psalms
London: Geoffrey Bles, 1958.
Problems or questions that occurred to Lewis while praying or studying the Psalms, and his thoughts thereon.
Rehabilitations and Other Essays
London: Oxford University Press, 1939.
Includes Christianity and Literature, High and Low Brows, and William Morris.
Selected Literary Essays
Ed. Walter Hooper. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1969.
Studies in Medieval & Renaissance Literature
Ed. Walter Hooper. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966.
Fourteen essays about a variety of subjects in this field of literary study, including Dante, Tasso, Spenser, and Milton.
Studies in Words
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960.
Takes several English words (and often their counterparts in Latin or Greek) and discusses changes in their meaning from century to century, and the patterns of human thought underlying the changes.
Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life
London: Geoffrey Bles, 1955; New York: Harcourt Brace, 1955.
They Asked for a Paper: Papers and Addresses
London: Geoffrey Bless, 1962.
Includes De Descriptione Temporum (1954) and Psycho-analysis and Literary Criticism (1941), among others.
Transpositions and Other Addresses
London: Geoffrey Bles, 1949.
Includes The Inner Ring (1944), Learning in War-Time (1939), and The Weight of Glory (1941).